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Police follow new leads in US varsity double murder

world Updated: Dec 19, 2007 09:16 IST
Arun Kumar

As investigators followed new leads in their hunt for the killers of two Indian students at a US university, authorities assured India that every possible step is being taken to bring the killers to justice.

Police received several new leads after the release of sketches of two of four black men suspected to be involved in the Thursday night killing of Louisiana State University (LSU) students Chandrasekhar Reddy Komma, 31, and Kiran Kumar Allam, 33.

Investigators are currently working on the theory the men were scouting for an opportunity to rob someone and might have seen Komma arrive at the Edward Gay Apartments in Baton Rouge to visit his friend Allam, and may have followed Komma into Allam's apartment.

Parents and wife of Allam left for India Tuesday, while Komma's wife and relatives left Sunday. With all necessary formalities completed, the bodies of the two students will be flown to India Thursday.

Responding to safety concerns of students at LSU, chancellor Sean O'Keefe Tuesday assured "everyone that LSU takes campus safety very seriously. Joint efforts are currently underway between the Baton Rouge and LSU Police Departments to sponsor a campus safety seminar, following the return from the winter break, he said in a message posted on the LSU website.

Indians make up the largest portion of LSU's international student body. During the fall 2007 semester, 1,468 international students, 332 of whom are from India, enrolled at the university.

Extending deepest condolences to the families and friends of the slain students, O'Keefe Said: "Many on campus and around the world consider the LSU community a part of their extended family. And, as any family would, we mourn as one over the tragic deaths of two men with the brightest of futures ahead of them."

"We were all shocked by the senseless nature of this crime," he said. O' Keefe hoped the "Komma & Allam" support fund established by LSU would "in some small way...help ease the burden for those family members who will carry the memories of these young men in their hearts forever."

Meanwhile, Baton Rouge city's Mayor-President Melvin "Kip" Holden assured two Indian diplomats that every possible step is being taken to bring the killers to justice.

The diplomats Alok Pandey, first secretary at the Indian embassy in Washington and K.P. Pillai, consul at the mission in Houston met the mayor and Chief of Police Jeff LeDuff Monday to learn more about the progress in investigations.

Holden urged local residents to cooperate with police. "The other day, it was somebody else. Today or tomorrow, it could be you," he said at a news conference.

Holden said his administration is working with LSU to help make sure international students and everyone else on campus is safe.

Police chief Jeff LeDuff said his officers plan to take a more active role in LSU's orientation for foreign students by providing safety tips.